The election of the next president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers has been delayed until July because of the Greek crisis, current head and candidate Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Wednesday. Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Spanish Minister of the Economy Luis de Guindos are the only ones in the running to head the Eurogroup, one of the biggest players in the debt talks with Greece. The next meeting of the finance ministers from all 19 countries that use the single currency is set for Thursday in Luxembourg, but will be overshadowed by the effort to reach an agreement on the release of new bailout funds for Greece.
"I will propose to the Eurogroup to hold the election in July. Greece requires all our attention," Dijsselbloem said in a tweet. Dijsselbloem and de Guindos face a vote by their peers with each making their motivation letters public this week ahead of Thursday's meeting, when the vote had initially been expected. The Dutch finance minister is the frontrunner, having led the group of ministers through the debt crisis storms since taking over the post from current European Commissioner head and former Luxembourger Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker in January 2013. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last year that Berlin would back the Spaniard for the post and French Minister of Finance Michel Sapin praised de Guindos during a visit to Spain last month but stopped short of formally backing him for the post.
Dijsselbloem was first elected in 2013 to replace Juncker, who had held the job for eight years.